Awanhala (Navinna).

Awanahala is a restaurant chain managed by Ceylon Hotel Corporation. They have multiple branches spread throughout the country, and we happened to find ourselves at the Navinna one. The place is just next to the High-Level road, and comes with a parking space.

Food

Their main offering is rice & curry which they've displayed in glass showcases, a few Sri Lankanised Chinese dishes and hoppers, kottu, string hoppers which are available at dinner time. 

Their Lamprais (Rs. 400) sported yellow rice, a piece of fried chicken, boiled egg, ash plantain, seeni sambal and wambotu moju.

First off, the rice had an appetising yellow colour which was pleasantly flavoured without being too oily. The fried chicken piece was coated with a thin layer of batter which fell on being a tad dry for our liking. The seeni sambol added a good amount of sweetness while the wambotu moju bringing in a dash of bitterness alongside more sweetness. 

The ash plantain was curried up, but wasn't all that flavoursome in comparison to the rest on the plate. 

The elements on its own were quite underwhelming, but mixing everything up made the Lamprais taste quite good. While this is not the best one we’ve had, nor the most authentic, it won’t leave you dissatisfied.

*Pictured above – Fried Fish Rice & Curry and EGB

We paired our Rice & Curry with Fried Fish (Rs. 250). The portion size is adequate for one and the rice was fluffy and cooked well. We were glad they hadn’t overdone the salt in the fried fish, so the natural fishy flavours can come through.

The dhal curry brought the moisture and loads of curry flavour with green beans adding a bit of texture to the mix. We hoped the jackfruit curry would deliver more but unfortunately, it lacked the curry flavour too, while the mallum was alright with a good crunch.

All in all, it's an okay plate of rice & curry but nothing to rave about.

In the Seafood Fried Rice (Rs. 490), we spotted a whole bunch of fish and cuttlefish bits, mixed in with a few whole prawns here and there. Even though the dish came warm to our table, it didn’t seem much fresh and tasted a tad oily to our liking.

However, the mix of carrots, leafy bits, and egg furthered the texture. The pieces of fish in the mix were a bit too salty, while the bits of cuttlefish were chewy as expected. Again, it looked and tasted quite generic, and nothing to write home about. 

Ambience & Service

The waitstaff was pleasant, albeit a bit slow. While our food didn’t take an unreasonable time, our bill after being asked, took its sweet time to arrive. 

There was enough space inside which can hold about 20 – 30 people at once and there is a space outside as well. Even though the place seemed clean, we noticed a high amount of flies buzzing about and we wish the staff would have paid more attention to keeping the food station clear of them. 

Conclusion

This branch of Awanhala has room to improve when it comes to flavours and promptness of service. Even though you won't be disappointed by their spread, we feel that you are better off getting your meal from elsewhere in the area unless you really have no other option.

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